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      A Home for Life? A Critical Perspective on Housing Choice for “Downsizers” in the UK

      Architecture_MPS

      UCL Press

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          Abstract

          A range of policy, research and media commentary has highlighted the link between housing, health, and wellbeing in later life, with discourses around “ageing in place” and “downsizing” emerging as particularly dominant. Proponents of “downsizing” strategies argue that the motivation for older people should be self-evident: difficulties with maintenance, heating bills, getting upstairs, and the increasing risk of falls are all commonly referred to. This outlook also highlights the economic benefits of downsizing to “age-appropriate” housing, particularly in relation to potential savings for health and social care budgets. Drawing upon participatory research with older people in the city of Sheffield, UK, this paper critiques current practices and discourses around the commissioning, design, and management of purpose-built retirement housing. The paper calls for an urgent need to reframe housing from a lifecourse perspective and to recognize older people as active citizens, for whom their homes are essential to their continuing to contribute to family life and society. We argue for a more nuanced debate around “downsizing” and “ageing in place”, and call for policy-makers to recognize the risk of spatially and socially marginalizing older people through current limitations in housing choices. The paper concludes by setting out a number of measures to improve the choice, quality, and flexibility of housing for later life.

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          Most cited references 19

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          Social Gerontology and the Age Stratification of Society

           M Riley (1971)
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            Transitions and the Lifecourse: Challenging the Constructions of “Growing Old.”

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              ‘You Have to Engage with Life, or Life Will Go Away’: An Intersectional Life Course Analysis of Older Women

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Amps
                Architecture_MPS
                UCL Press
                April 2016
                : 9
                : 1
                Affiliations
                University of Sheffield
                Article
                10.14324/111.444.amps.2016v9i2.001

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 39, Pages: 20

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                Architecture_MPS
                Volume 9, Issue 1

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